‘Armed migrants holding crew hostage on cargo ship’ in Thames estuary

A cargo ship crew have locked themselves in a cabin after a group of stowaway migrants began threatening them with iron bars.

Essex police said they have received no reports of any injuries on board the ship in the Thames estuary, but a spokesman for the ship company said four armed stowaways are threatening staff.

The spokesman said the migrants were demanding the Italian vessel, called the Grande Tema, went closer to the Kent coast so they could swim to shore.

The ship set off from Lagos in Nigeria last Monday, and is currently off the coast of Margate in Kent. Paul Kyprianou, a spokesman for Grimaldi Lines, the operator of the ship, told Sky News: ‘We found four stowaways on the vessel.

‘The vessel was coming from Nigeria and was bound to Tilbury and those four stowaways were in the cabin, and today they managed to escape from the cabin and they started threatening the crew, requesting the master of the vessel navigating very close to the coast.

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